Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium
How Digital Publishers Can Capitalize on Data Monetization
In the world of publishing, times are tough. In Asia Pacific, advertising is dominated by online search and social media platforms (accounting for 92 cents of every dollar spent) — so is it any wonder that digital publishers are increasingly turning to subscriptions for more revenue?
However, there is a way to stem the tide. As a digital publisher, you are sitting on a treasure trove of customer data that can be made to work for you, especially when combined with external data to provide you with holistic insight on customer behavior. It helps with more effective ad placement for a higher return on advertising spend (ROAS) while also providing a granular view of your customers’ interests and behaviors in order to drive subscriptions.
Used correctly, artificial intelligence (AI) can help in both areas, breathing new life into the digital publishing business and making your publication a brand readers and advertisers alike will keep coming back to.
Journeying Towards Personalized Content to Drive Subscriptions
Subscriptions are increasingly important for digital publishers. According to a recent study ‘Journalism, Media, and Technology Trends and Predictions 2019’, subscriptions will be the main revenue focus for 52 percent of publishers. Used correctly, AI can help you achieve that without your costs ballooning.
The reality is that you probably already have some basic information about your readers based on your customer data, such as age, sex, reading habits, etc., but you need to dig deeper and develop a more holistic customer view for effective targeting and personalization.
Combine your own customer data with extra data from external websites using a data science platform such as AIXON, and let AI crunch the data to give you a complete picture of your audience, including their cross-screen behavior and interests outside of your publications.
AI can then segment the readers based on their interests for you to tailor your marketing messages using a range of mediums, including EDM, push notifications, in-app messaging and so on, in order to increase stickiness and drive subscriptions.
For example, if you are a diet and healthy living publisher and you discover a certain segment of your website customers also love treating themselves to sweet snacks once or twice a week, you could push occasional ‘cheat day’ content like recipes and restaurant reviews as a new way to appeal to them. If you know one particular restaurant or gym is popular with your customers, you could even offer money off discounts as part of a collaborative deal.
Thinking Outside the Box: Leveraging External Data to Increase Ad Revenue
Of course it is not just about subscriptions. Advertising is still a valuable source of revenue for digital publishers. So, how can you unlock the potential of data to drive ad revenue?
Leverage AI to analyze your web traffic, as well as your customers’ behaviors on other websites run by third parties, so your customer data isn’t limited to interactions with the website and the app of your own publication. This helps you identify the keywords that indicate the top interests among your audience, and segment them accordingly. You can then sell advertising space to advertisers based on these segments in order to generate or increase ad revenue.
For example, if the diet and healthy living publisher mentioned earlier discovered that dairy-free foods are a big area of interest for its readership, this would be an easy sell-in for manufacturers of dairy-free milk and cheese. Confronted with hard data proving that a sizeable proportion of your customers buy dairy-free alternatives, the manufacturers can be more confident of a high ROAS, and hence more likely to spend their advertising budget with your publication.
The publishing landscape has changed inexorably in recent years, bringing plenty of fresh challenges, but that doesn’t mean digital publishers have to suffer. Those that innovate by adopting emerging technologies like AI will develop a better understanding of their customers, and be better enabled to serve their diverse range of interests. By leveraging AI and data science, you can make yourself a more disruptive digital publisher, and find new ways to appeal to your customers, both website readers and advertisers alike.